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The Gulf of Trieste is a densely populated area where various kinds of marine-related activities (such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, harbour operations, etc.) constitute the basis of the existent local economy and social welfare. It is also a very singular site due to the high variability caused by the large tidal range, strong NNE wind events, and marked seasonal variations in the heat flux. In this context, the Natural Marine Reserve of Miramare (RNMM) represents an area with unique hydrological and geomorphological characteristics that condition its flora and fauna, rendering it a priceless and irreplaceable biotope both within and outside the confines of the Gulf. As a Protected Area, the Riserva is first of all a preferential environment for species conservation and maintaining biodiversity. However, it also provides a natural laboratory for studying the environment and testing innovative management solutions. Given the criticality of the Gulf area, a better comprehension of the physical, chemical and biological processes that are operating within it is absolutely necessary in order to manage environmental problems and protect the whole ecosystem. However, traditional monitoring approaches are often not sufficient because of the multiplicity of the processes involved and the scale of their variability. This is why new strategies are needed. The recognition of this reality is the basis of the presently running "MAMBO" (Monitoraggio AMBientale Operativo) Project, a collaborative effort between the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale-OGS and the RNMM, which emphasizes continuous, systematic, long-term monitoring of the coastal Gulf waters. In this paper, we discuss the advantages of this kind of monitoring with respect to "classical" monitoring practices in the management and development of realities such as the Reserve.